15. Development of fragile lands: theory and practice.
Publ. of Developm. Strategies for Fragile Lands (DESFIL), Washington, USA; prepared for U.S.Agency for Int. Development, USA; 1988, 21 pp.
In this paper the author attempts to synthesize an integrated approach to the sustainable development of fragile lands.
The paper is divided into four sections:
- In the first the author deals with the problem of terminology and suggest definitions that will capture the breadth and complexity of the issues under discussion.
Concluding, the integrated approach is briefly outlined. Such an approach includes:
- Political commitment, policy, and planning:
If such an approach is to have any chance of success, there must be a commitment on the part of national governments. Such a commitment must be demonstrated through the enactment of appropriate policies and development strategies and provision of the necessary resources to implement them.
- Technological interventions, adaptive research, and monitoring:
Enough is known about technological interventions, using both western and indigenous models, to improve the sustainability of present land-use systems. Many of the possible technical interventions are site-specific and must be adapted to the prevailing environmental conditions. There is no standard technical package that can be extended, just as there is no standard way of disseminating these interventions, since they must be adapted to prevailing social and political conditions. Of equal importance, however, is the need to monitor the effectiveness of these technological interventions and, whenever it is necessary, to modify them.
- Institutional strengthening and coordination:
Public sector institutions dealing with fragile lands issues are often weak and fragmented - whether they are in the Ministry of Planning, the Ministry of Agriculture, or the Ministry of Natural Resources. The necessary conditions for their strengthening include political commitment, the availability of resources, as well as the required technical competence.
- Enhancing local organizational capacity:
Local organizations of farmers and their families fulfill important functions in the sustainable development of fragile lands by acting as vehicles. Equally important in this connection are the NGOs working in natural resources management, which often serve an intermediary function as indigenous grassroots support organizations.
- Environmental education and extension:
This is the most realistic and practical way of disseminating what is known about fragile lands issues to those most affected by them. It is also the first step in translating this knowledge into action.
- Conservation and development:
There is no essential contradiction between sustainable economic development and conservation of the natural resource base.
Potential activities include nature tourism, natural-forest management, game cropping, and sustainable extraction of minor forest products.
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Farming systems research and development
Review, book, agricultural research, network effects, sustainable development, national agricultural research systems, ICRISAT, IDRC
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